Modern Languages

MFL Curriculum Statement

The Languages Department is a forward-thinking department located in its own fully equipped building with four classrooms. Students also have access to a variety of apps and websites on their tablets and laptops to further their language progression. We are a team of 4 teachers, who are passionate about the importance of learning languages and the opportunities it offers our students, both culturally and as they enter the world of work.

We have a wide ranging extra-curricular programme which includes a wide range of educational visits. We are also very excited to this year welcome German and Spanish assistants for the first time, who we have employed through the British Council.

Key Stage 3

Students at KS3 enjoy three hours a week of languages. Year 7 students study one language on entry to Saint Aidan’s, either Spanish or German, for the whole year. Most Year 8 and 9 students study both Spanish and German in Year 8 and 9, giving them the option of continuing with both languages to GCSE.

We have a vast range of resources for students at KS3 to learn a language and these give students the opportunity to extend their knowledge of the language and to explore and research the cultural aspect of the country.

We are in the process of transitioning to a scheme of work designed by NCELP (National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy). This is being studied by all students in years 7 and 8. Year 9 are the last year group to study ‘Stimmt’ for German and ‘Viva’ for Spanish.

We have chosen to adopt this new curriculum at Key Stage 3 as we believe it will give our students a much firmer grounding in the language, and enable them to become more confident linguists as they move forward in their learning journey throughout Key Stage 3 and beyond.

Rationale and principles

Our new KS3 curriculum is build around the 3 key strands of Phonics, Vocabulary and Grammar

One of the key aims of the SoW is to avoid introducing too much language too fast, with no more than one new main grammatical function every 2 weeks and no more than 10 new words each week.


Most lessons will start with short, sharp bursts of practice of one or two SSC (Symbol-Sound  correspondences), and this knowledge is then developed through integration with other activities. Every SSC is taught by the end of KS3, and these are regularly re-visited.


The focus of this Scheme of Learning moves away from learning topics, instead focussing on the language that is most frequently used in Spanish/German. This common language is also systematically revisited throughout the scheme of work. This soon allows students to manipulate verbs and regularly create their own sentences. Classes have weekly vocab tests, and this vocabulary is mostly pre-learnt as homework before we use it in class.


Pupils now encounter grammatical structures early on, which traditionally would not have been taught until much later in the curriculum. This is taught in small, manageable chunks. For example, if pupils learning present tense verb endings, they might only learn 2 or 3 parts at once and practice them thoroughly before introducing the rest.

KS3 Overview

Key Stage 4

We have a large take up of students at KS4 to study a language. Students enjoy three hours a week of their chosen language in Year 10 and two hours a week in Year 11, following the AQA full course. Students are given the opportunity to further their knowledge of the language with three main themes that we cover:

  1. Identity and culture
  2. Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  3. Current study, future study and employment

Students can build on their learning at KS3 and explore new vocabulary, tenses and involve themselves in interesting and interactive activities. All lessons are interactive and iPads are used to enhance the learning and there is a strong emphasis on immersing the students in the language and the culture of the country.

The assessment at the end of the two year course is as follows:

Paper 1 Listening exam – 25%

1 exam – Foundation tier 35 minutes and Higher tier 45 minutes. Pupils will answer questions in English and German/Spanish.

Paper 2 Speaking exam – 25%

1 exam consisting of a role play, a photo card and a general conversation. Foundation tier will last 7-9 minutes and Higher tier will last 10-12 minutes.

Paper 3 Reading exam – 25%

1 exam – Foundation tier 45 minutes and Higher tier 1 hour. Questions in English, German/Spanish and translation from German/Spanish into English.

Paper 4 Writing exam – 25%

1 exam – Foundation tier 1 hour and Higher tier 1 hour 15 minutes. Questions will include a list task, a message, a translation into German/Spanish and a structured writing task.

All students will be given a speaking book, a vocabulary booklet and knowledge organisers for each theme. Pupils will also have a log in for ‘languagenut’ to give them further revision opportunities.

KS4 Overview


The Department offers a Greek and Latin club for KS3 students. We also hold regular revision clubs for KS4 students both after school and at lunchtimes.

We have recently set up a penpal exchange with Anne Sullivan School in Barcelona, and we are also in the process of re-establishing links with our previous German Exchange Partner, the Christoph-Scheiner Gymnasium in Ingolstadt.

As a team we believe it is essential to offer as many of our students as possible the opportunity to take part in an educational visit to widen their cultural understanding and give them a chance to practice the language they have been learning in the real world. Therefore, we are continuing to build on our educational visits programme. This year visits include KS4 visits to Cologne in December and to Barcelona in April. In October 2023 KS3 German students will also have the opportunity to take part in a trip to Hellenthal, which is a language immersion and activity centre in the Nordrhein-Westfalen region of Germany

Department Staff

Mr N Curran Director of Languages
Miss L Smith Spanish Assessment and Learning Coordinator
Miss C Butler German Teacher, Head of Year
Mr D Mitchell Spanish Teacher

Saint Aidan's MFL